Jonathan Longnecker is one of the partners along side Nate Croft at the fantastic design company FortySeven Media. He¬† kindly agreed to answer some questions for us here at Best Christian Design.¬† Hopefully you will enjoy reading what he has to say about God and design.¬† Its a brilliant read, and feel free to comment below on anything he says. (:
How did you become a Christian and what impact has God had on your life?
My family has deep religious roots, so I was aware of ¬†the need to accept Jesus pretty early on. I was in 1st grade, I believe (7 yrs old), and my teacher led those of that were ready in the prayer. And yes, I was in a Christian school :). However, when everyone in your family are Christians, you ride on their coattails by default and there comes a time when you have to find your own relationship with God.¬†That happened in High School for me. In the last 6 years, I’ve gotten married and will have my 3rd child in October, and those things have drastically changed my understanding of love, grace and responsibility. It’s amazing how fresh the Bible stays for different stages of your life. I know God has been involved in so many aspects of my life and the directions it has taken that there’s not room here. Suffice to say I ask Him everyday to keep me going the right way, and I know He hears me.
How did you get started in web design and graphic design?
This will be a great example of the above, actually. It’s amazing how God takes even the small paths and decisions you make to bring them together. My partner (Nate Croft) and I met in High School. He played guitar like a madman and while I used to play, it had been a while. He inspired me to pick it back up and start writing. That’s when I fell in love with music again. We started writing and playing together, culminating in a band that played shows, wrote our own music, and led worship for our Youth Group every week (Check out heroesorghosts.com to listen). We naturally needed posters, t-shirts, CD cover designs, and a website so Nate and I dug in and figured out how to do it. By the time we got to college, we decided Graphic Design wasn’t a bad backup gig if the music didn’t work out. We got our degrees, paid our dues in low paying, great experience shops and started building our business. While we did some Flash sites back in the day, we just recently got into web design of the semantic nature (HTML/CSS) a few years ago. We’ve never taken a class for web design; everything is self-taught.
What are the biggest challenges that you face in web/graphic design currently?
Our biggest challenges of late have been working through our strengths and weaknesses as individuals and finding out how to become more profitable and keep enjoying what we do. This has translated into a lot of soul searching and goal planning (we had no goals!) to give us a clearer roadmap and large things to be excited about and work towards. As a result of this (and the total grace of God) our workload has kind of exploded so now we’re dealing with how and when to grow. And really just how to get all this work done
How do you think Christians can use the internet to spread the gospel?
I think the internet is a great vehicle for sharing the Gospel. Blogs, social networks, twitter, podcasts, videos are all infinitely easier to produce and get in front of people than ever before. Not only is it great for sharing the Gospel, but also for connecting Christians in more ways. I read an article on Collide not too long ago that brought up the idea of churches becoming smaller and sort of franchise based in the future. When you have a smaller group and Facebook and Twitter, do we really need a 5,000 seat auditorium? You could subscribe to a video podcast of a great preacher and use that instead of hiring someone on staff. Plus this whole idea of people having their salaries paid for by the church wasn’t really even in the Bible, was it? I’m definitely not claiming that any of this is right or wrong, but the next 10 years should be very interesting to watch.
What do you want people to know about your company?
As part of our aforementioned ¬†goal planning, Nate and I distilled FortySeven Media into two main passions: Create Things and Do Good. We’re obviously creating design and websites, but we still have a passion for music and video and art and whatever else we can think of. We’d like to see some of those become part of our revenue stream in the future, too. Also, with initiatives like DesignHope, our blog and doing keynote talks we’re finding new ways to give back to the community everyday. As we have more capital, expect to see much more of the Doing Good come into play. We’re just two guys who really love what we do and won’t rest till it’s done right. We try to keep it simple.